During the Covid-19 crisis, I, and many of my musician friends, have experienced a wide panoply of emotions that one would relate to profound loss. The denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance have progressed within me like a fast moving stream over rocks. It is the correct image because it has not been smooth. I am good at the psychological monitoring of my emotions but this has pushed my self-awareness skills to the extreme. And as a musician and performing artist, I am still mourning the loss of a stage where I can “create.”
As a musician and performing artist, I am still mourning the loss of a stage where I can “create.”
We, as artists, have experienced a loss that is peculiar to our business. In a normal situation, we compete for jobs on an hourly basis and our job security is never fixed. It is variable and rarely dependable. Artists are sensitive. It is the nature of the beast. So for us to have lost all performance possibilities and the income that comes from that through the closure of all theaters worldwide is testing the nature of artists to their core. And like the stages of grief, every day challenges our coping skills.
I have referred to the solidarity of artists helping each other with Artist Relief Funds in a past blog. That was written when there was hope that theaters would turn around and open in the fall. But as we see the likelihood of stages being kept dark until 2021, artists are starting to unravel. Paying the rent and eating cannot be achieved on hope. So, in the meantime, how do we regroup?
I am passionate about what “stunning acts of solidarity” can achieve for artists to survive. Artist Relief Funds were an initial courageous act and hopefully they will continue. If artists can hang on to the collective strength of each other and work together to teach, to perform and to explore the possibilities that the power of the internet can provide I think they can weather the storm. But artists also need to find help for themselves while thinking out of the box. I believe in the power of diversification. As creators, all artists have the extraordinary power to transform from the ground up. It is how we have developed our talents with years and years of discipline, practice and study. Our hungry drive to be performers can transcend mountains. There are many of us who don’t see obstacles in our intended desires as performers. I feel that if we can tap into our performing power and “recreate” ourselves there is opportunity for personal transformation in this very difficult time. Don’t become trapped in grief. Push the reset button. You may find a money making venture along the way.
I feel that if we can tap into our performing power and “recreate” ourselves there is opportunity for personal transformation in this very difficult time.
As performers we are no strangers to building a different stage with every role that we play. And certainly, with our mutual isolation right now we don’t have to be threatened by a competitive dynamic with other artists. The playing field has been leveled. We are at war and our enemy is that our isolation may silence our gifts as artists if we allow it. We cannot let that happen. An online creation is a valid means of work right now. Or perhaps a new idea that stems from your voice and your particular gifts as an artist will come to you. The music business will return. We are only in physical isolation. You can transcend that with your imagination. We are in this together.